Council of Canadian Academies? It’s not especially familiar but this group of academics was asked by the Canadian government (Health Canada) to give an assessment of the health risks posed by nanomaterials. You can find the news release here, the Globe and Mail article here, and the report they released yesterday here.
I have read the news release and the Globe and Mail (G&M) article and they present an interesting contrast. The news release from the Council of Canadian Academies is more neutral than the G&M piece. but maybe the report is more pointed. There were 15 experts on the panel I’ll bet those dynamics got interesting) making the assessment.
Bottom line: nobody knows with any certainty what the dangers, if any, might be. We do need to look into it. Changing the properties of materials at the nanoscale ( manipulating atoms and molecules) gives us entirely new forms of matter. There are over 600 consumer products in the Project for Emerging Nanotechnologies database (April 2008) and they register three to four new products every week. It’s in toothpaste, skin care, bandaids, etc. There are industrials uses too. I’ll try to find the my data on this stuff but I am working on my Mysteries (nanotech wiki) and may it take me a few days.